Virtue signalling is NOT a good reason for Ireland, or anyone else, to recognise the Palestinian State.
This post is a response to Symbolic step of Ireland recognising Palestine would mean so much by T.P. O’Mahony in the Irish Examiner on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017.
Ireland should not recognise a Palestinian State because:
- It does not fulfil three of the four legal qualifications for statehood,
- If a state arises it will inevitably bring on war – not simply against Israel but also between Palestinian and Palestinian and others,
- Recognition would reinforce the Palestinian belief that they don’t have to make the necessary concessions for peace with Israel ,
- Both the current Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and Hamas-led Gaza have disgraceful human rights records, call for genocide and ethnic cleansing – and they pass this on to their children.
Put simply recognising Palestine is not in the interests of Ireland, the world or even the Palestinians. It is an empty gesture. (If you pretend that O’Mahony has the interests of Israel or Jews at heart you’re mad as a box of frogs).
Palestine does not have what it takes to be a state
There is a simple and practical definition of a state in international law. It’s based on the Montevideo Convention and adopted by the European Union.
The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
Palestine fails three out of four.
In case you need it spelt out. Palestine fails on the permanent population condition for two reasons: More than half a million Jews live in areas that Palestine claims and they will resist the ethnic cleansing that Palestine demands to get rid of them.
Secondly, the Palestine Authority also claims to represent the Arab minority in Israel and also millions of Palestine refugees outside its direct control. At the same time as it demands their ‘return’ to the state of Israel (after 69 years few have ever been there) it refuses to allow Palestinians fleeing Syria to enter the Palestinian Authority.
It fails no less on the defined territory status. Will Ireland be supporting a state including the existing state of Israel? The current state of Jordan which was largest part of the British Mandate of Palestine until 1923? The territories that Jordan (then Transjordan) and Egypt captured and held for 19 years after 1948? The areas that the Palestinian Authority actually holds or those it claims are occupied? Gaza where it doesn’t hold one centimetre? Those areas that Israel holds since 1967 such as Jerusalem and are a deal breaker in any negotiations (not that Mahmud Abbas is negotiating)?
Palestine does better on the government status. Not content with one government it has two – Hamas in West and Fatah in the East. Neither can be remotely considered democratic. Neither recognises the other. Neither has much concern for what is best for its citizens. Mahmud Abbas hasn’t been able to even visit the house he owns, in Gaza City, for the last decade.
Most defence analysts are sure that if Israel were to withdraw the de facto protection it gives the Abbas regime, Hamas would take over in less time than it took to throw the Fatah government out of the strip in 2007.
Palestine does score in the state relations category. They have ninety embassies and consulates throughout the world. That’s sixteen more than the government of Ireland! One wonders how many diplomatic missions Narnia and Neverland could run if they had Palestinian public relations behind them.
An independent Palestine would lead to war not peace.
Let’s count the wars:
- State of Palestine vs. Israel
Hamas is more open in its ambition to destroy Israel than Fatah but neither will declare establishment of a state will end hostilities. Incitement, a weakened Israel and the need for a scapegoat in a failed-state-to-be will be added incentives for violence across the border.
- State of Palestine vs. Jordan
O’Mahony failed to mention it in his omission riddled history but two-thirds of the British Mandate of Palestine is now called Jordan and up to 80% of the population is ethnic Levantine Arab (AKA Palestinian). Ultimately this led to the bloody Black September war when the Bedouin army of King Hussein expelled the Arafat led PLO. Plenty of bad blood to spread around.
- Fatah and allies vs. Hamas and allies
In 2005 Israel left Gaza and by 2007 deteriorating relations between the two main Palestinian political parties broke out into civil war. The U.S. trained and armed Palestinian Authority forces were quickly and brutally routed with combined casualties of over six hundred. Since then there have quickly broken agreements and multiple incidents of brutality and arrest to keep the pot boiling. Only the buffer that is Israeli control (call it occupation, if you must) prevents round two. The smart money is on Hamas.
- Islamic State vs. … just about everybody
Hamas and IS have much in common. They compete for the support of the same target population. Although retreating in Iraq and Syria the newly independent Palestine would be a very tempting new battleground and a safe base for the organisation
- Peace in the region? Not so much
One myth that has attracted otherwise rational politicians is that the key to all Middle East conflicts is Palestine. The carnage that is Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya; temporarily paused carnage in Lebanon and Egypt; ethnic cleansing of Christians and other non Muslim minorities, and the Sunni (most Arabs) and Shiite (Iran) conflicts are not due to Israel. They won’t go away whatever symbolic gestures Ireland makes about Palestine.
What will be Ireland’s response to any of these probable conflicts? Hashtag #tábrónorm?†
Recognition without conditions encourages obstinacy … and much worse.
As every parent knows rewarding bad behaviour is rewarded by worse behaviour. In this case rewarding the Palestinians by symbolic recognition reinforces the idea that if they wait long enough they will never have to make any of the concessions necessary for peace with Israel. Someone else will force Israel into compliance.
Recognising the State of Palestine, at this time, is to condone indoctrinating children that hate and killing are Palestinian national and religious obligations. Irish foreign aid money already goes into Palestinian schools named after mass murderers which openly promote terrorism and encourage pupils to see child killers as role models.
Just imagine that Palestine was applying for membership in the European Union alongside Ireland. It would stumble on the first criteria:
Stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities
Democracy, the rule of law, human rights and minority protection are all missing in the Palestinian Authority and even more so in Gaza.
Perhaps O’Mahony missed Mahmoud Abbas celebrating the twelfth year of his four-year term? Give him the benefit of the doubt that he missed the daily violation of freedom of expression and freedom of the media, under both dictatorial regimes rather than deliberately ignored it.
Feel-good recognition without demanding any corresponding improvements is like expecting the street corner yob to magically develop into a responsible adult. Just because.
The State of Palestine promotes genocide and ethnic cleansing.How can Ireland support in Palestine what it rejects with horror in Europe and elsewhere?
For now, Palestinian leaders have every reason to believe that terrorism and violence pay off. It would be hard to prove them wrong. As O’Mahony wrote, “Symbolic steps mean so much”. That should include steps as refusing to recognise a state that continues to incite murder.
The Palestinians are per capita the world’s largest recipients of foreign aid and a significant part of that aid comes, directly and indirectly (through NGOs such as Trocaire), from Ireland.
Much of that aid is then funnelled as salaries for people whose only claim for recognition is the murder of Israeli men, women and children. The victims were not necessarily Jewish but Jews are the targets. Clearly this violates Palestinian commitments in the Oslo Accords not to finance or encourage terrorism. Channeling funds to pay terrorist salaries runs counter to international counter-terrorism conventions and resolutions of the UN Security Council.
Kill enough and you may have a street, summer camp or tournament named in your honour.
Mahmud Abbas, the President of the ‘state’ and other officials have repeatedly insisted that not a single Jew be allowed to stay in the future state. This is not a population swap as, such as, between Greece and Turkey in 1923. They still insist (and Israel doesn’t object) that Israel’s Arab citizens stay in place and every one of five million Palestine refugees be allowed to move to Israel (something Israel strongly objects to).
In any other context this would be called Ethnic Cleansing.
An honest Ireland really should make one symbolic gesture to Palestine. May I suggest a slow hand clap and a recommendation to get your act together before trying again. It would mean so much.
First posted at Five Minutes for Israel